Center for Family History and Genealogy

The Center for Family History and Genealogy was organized by faculty at Brigham Young University (BYU) in the year 2000. BYU offers a B.A. degree in Family History and Genealogy. The program is one of the oldest, most developed, and internationally-diverse educational experiences available to the world of genealogists. The Center's mission statement is to "Utilize BYU resources to simplify the finding of ancestors and the discovery of the world in which they lived; and support the training of students for life-long temple and family history service."

The Center's first Director was Raymond S. Wright III, Ph.D., AG, with Gerald Haslam, Ph.D., AG, as Associate Director, and Kathy Driggs as Secretary. The Center's current Director is George Ryskamp, J.D., AG, with Kip Sperry, M.L.S., AG, CG as Associate Director, and Lu Knudson as the Administrative Services Supervisor.

BYU's Harold B. Lee Library houses the largest LDS Family History Center in the world. It is also only 45 miles from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. In addition, the Center has a specialized genealogical computer lab on campus.

Course offerings include (those listed in bold are also available through Independent Study):

  • American Family History
  • Asian/Polynesian Family History
  • British Family History
  • Directed Research in Family History
  • England/Wales Before 1700
  • England/Wales Since 1700
  • English Language Handwriting
  • Germanic Language Handwriting
  • Germanic/Slavic Family History (beginner and advanced levels)
  • Hispanic Family History (beginner and advanced levels)
  • Intro to LDS Family History
  • Irish Family History Research
  • Family & Law in American History
  • Latin Language Handwriting
  • LDS Family History
  • Native American Family History
  • North American Family History
  • Professional Family History Research
  • Professional Paths and Credentials in Family History
  • Romance Language Handwriting
  • Scandinavian Family History (beginner and advanced levels)
  • Scandinavian Language Handwriting
  • Scottish Family History Research
  • Slavic Family History Research
  • Slavic Language Handwriting
  • Southern European Family History (beginner and advanced levels)
  • U.S. and Canada Family History
  • U.S. - Eastern States Family History
  • U.S. - Midwest Family History
  • U.S. - Native American Family History
  • U.S. - New England Family History
  • U.S. - Southern States Family History
  • Writing Family Histories

Free online courses include:

  • Family Records
  • Finding Your Ancestor
  • France: Genealogical Organizations and Periodicals
  • France: Immigrant Origins
  • France: Reading French Handwriting
  • France: The Internet and French Genealogy
  • France: Vital Records
  • French Research: Alsace-Lorraine
  • French Research: Paris
  • Germany: Calendars and Feast Days
  • Germany: Immigrant Origins
  • Germany: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
  • Germany: Reading German Handwriting
  • Germany: U.S. Sources and Surname Changes
  • Germany: Vital Records
  • Helping Children Love Your Family History
  • Huguenot Research
  • Introduction to Family History Research
  • Military Records
  • Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors
  • Scandinavia: Census Records
  • Scandinavia: Church Records and Feast Days
  • Scandinavia: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
  • Scandinavia: Probate and Other Records
  • Scandinavia: Reading Gothic Script
  • Vital Records

Click here to take the free online courses.

The capstone course in the program is an academic internship. According to the Center's website, alumni have completed internships in England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. In addition, they have served at the Allen County Public Library, the Family History Library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the Society of Genealogists Library. Many of the Center's alumni are prominent members of the genealogical community.

BYU's faculty - renowned for their linguistic abilities - also offer history and foreign language classes covering each of the geographic localities listed above.

The Center's faculty actively speak at genealogical conferences around the globe. They also orchestrate two highly-successful annual family history conferences at BYU: the Family History and Genealogy Conference and the Computerized Genealogy Conference.

Current projects include: the Immigrant Ancestors Project, the Mormon Immigration Index (Addendum), and Welsh Mormon History.

Center publications include: a monthly newsletter, an annual journal, Ancestors in German Archives: A Guide to Family History Sources, Annotated Records of Baptisms for the Dead 1840-1845 Nauvoo Hancock County, Illinois, and Teaching Family History.

For more information, visit the Center's website.

See also the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family History Center, and Family History Library.